The actor recalled his experience working with the animal during the recent Friends reunion special

By Dory Jackson
July 06, 2021 05:15 PM

The man who trained the monkeys that served as Ross Geller's pet on Friends has a bone to pick with David Schwimmer.

In an interview with The Sun, animal handler Mike Morris called out Schwimmer, 54, for the comments he made about his character's pet, Marcel, during HBO Max's Friends reunion special. Two capuchin monkeys starred as Marcel, named Katie and Monkey.

"I did about five episodes and the first couple episodes, David Schwimmer was pretty good with the monkeys," Morris, 53, told the newspaper of his experience working on Friends in the 1990s. "After that, he seemed to get a little bitter about them being there."

He continued, "I think David Schwimmer probably had a little trouble with the monkey, and it's just my opinion. The first couple of episodes he was pretty friendly with the monkey, and after that, the monkey was getting a lot of laughs. Either it was throwing him off or [he was] getting a little jealous, I don't know. One of those two things."

David Schwimmer
Credit: NBCUniversal via Getty

Morris said the monkeys worked well with Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc, but claimed they "didn't like" working with Schwimmer after he allegedly "turned on them."

"We had to rehearse with the monkey by herself and then [Schwimmer] would come in and things wouldn't be the same, so it made it harder," Morris said. "It got to the point where he just really resented the monkey being there — he obviously had a problem with her and he's still talking about it now."

"The other capuchin who played Marcel was called Monkey and passed away recently from cancer, so Schwimmer was talking ill of the dead when he made those comments [in the reunion]. I find it despicable for him to still be speaking ill of her," he added.

Reps for Schwimmer did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

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During the Friends reunion special, which dropped in May, Schwimmer recalled his experience working with the animal. (Out of the six core cast members, only Aniston, 52, said she actually enjoyed working alongside the monkey.)

"I love animals. I love primates. I have nothing against animals, I'm an animal lover. However, here was my problem," Schwimmer said. "The monkey — obviously, it was trained and it had to hit its mark and do its thing right at the perfect time— but what inevitably began to happen was we would all have choreographed bits kind of timed out, and it would get messed up because the monkey didn't do its job right. So, we'd have to reset, we'd have to go again because the monkey didn't get it right."

David Schwimmer
Credit: Ian West/PA Images via Getty

Schwimmer said the issue "kept happening over and over, where we're about to do something really funny, but the monkey didn't hit its mark," forcing them to start over. The actor was also not a fan of how the animal's trainer would feed it live grubs in between takes as it sat on Schwimmer's shoulder.

"The monkey would be sitting on my shoulder, take some grubs, break them in half — these squirming live [grubs]. They'd eat it," Schwimmer recalled, adding that the monkey would then have its hands all over him.

Schwimmer starred as Ross Geller on the beloved NBC sitcom, which aired from 1994 to 2004. The part earned him an Emmy nomination in 1995 for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series.